More than 20,000 people join pro-Palestinian rally in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - About 21,000 people took part in a pro-Palestinian rally in Brussels on Saturday, police said, many chanting slogans such as "Free Palestine" and demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as they marched peacefully through the city.

"What is happening right now in Gaza is beyond devastating," one demonstrator said, carrying a poster that read "Ceasefire now!" in Dutch.

Other protesters held up posters that read "Stop the Genocide", "Human Rights for Palestinians" or demanded the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over what they called war crimes.

"It is important to let our voice be heard, that we cannot accept people being bombed and being murdered," another demonstrator said.

Since the Hamas group's assault in southern Israel on Oct. 7, there has been strong support and sympathy for Israel from Western governments and many citizens.

But the Israeli military response has also prompted anger, with protests in cities around the world demanding a ceasefire.

In London, more than 100,000 pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets on Saturday. In Paris, several thousand demonstrators, including some left-wing lawmakers, marched with Palestinian flags and banners to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

(Reporting by Bart Biesemans; Additional reporting by Lucien Libert and Claudia Greco in Paris; Writing by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Helen Popper)